Offices Flooded, But NCJW is Buoyed by Community Support

NCJW / LA Council House
NCJW / LA Council House
While it has suffered  extensive flood damage to its building, the National Council of Jewish Women-Los Angeles has been buoyed by community support.

Its Council House at 543 N. Fairfax Ave. at Rosewood, sustained roof-to-basement water damage last month when a seam on a large rooftop water heater burst open. Although the organization has continued to use the building, some parts of it are not accessible while extensive repairs are underway. The three-story Council House was built in 1961 and has dozens of offices, numerous meeting rooms and an auditorium.

Lack of access to some parts of the building means that staff members have been doubling up and squeezing into shared offices. And it means there’s been a dearth of space for support groups to take place and for social workers to meet with clients.

The agency provides a variety of services to residents of West Hollywood and surrounding areas. They include tutoring and book giveaways for at-risk children, telephone counseling for women in distress, clothing assistance programs and emergency transportation for those who need to get to a hospital or clinic or a job interview or food bank. It also operates clothing thrift shops.

The agency has been able to minimize disruptions to client services thanks to support from West Hollywood, according Hillary Selvin, executive director of NCJW-LA.

“West Hollywood immediately stepped up,” she said. “The city has been very helpful in providing space for clients and programs.”

Meetings and services displaced from Council House have been held in library meeting rooms and in the City Council Chambers. Jewish Family Services, too, has been “tremendously helpful,” Selvin said, by making office space available to NCJW in the evenings.

Sevin hopes that things will return to normal by early  April. In the interim, NCJW-LA is posting updates to its website to keep supporters apprised of progress on the repairs, which include work on the flooring and the electrical system. The phone and e-mail systems have been rewired and are functional, according to a March 4 update on its website.

Insurance will pay for most of the repairs, Selvin said, but there will be some costs to NCJW. The organization may do a fundraising campaign for expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. Already, many community members have been reaching out ask how they can help.

“People have been really helpful. We really appreciate the support from the community,” Selvin said.

Earlier this month, NCJA-LA was named one of the city’s Rainbow Key Award winners in recognition of its strong record of support for LGBT equality. With more than 2,500 members, NCJW-LA works for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children and families, through Women Helping Women Community Counseling and Support Services, and Women Helping Women and literacy programs.